Influence of Wind and Ocean currents on Air Temperature
Wind is the medium by which water vapour and consequently, temperature variations are moved from one area of the globe to another, creating weather variations within specific climate zones.
The dominant air currents that affect climate are known as Prevailing Winds. Prevailing winds are winds that blow in one direction more often than from other directions. Prevailing winds transport air from one type of climate to another. For example, warm winds that travel over water tend to collect moisture as they travel, the water vapor in the air condenses as it moves into colder climates, and thus, temperate coastal areas often receive heavy rainfall. A wind from the sea lowers the summer temperature and raises the winter temperature. Winds from the lands are usually dry, while winds from the sea are damp and cool.
The ocean on the other hand, acts as a massive heat-retaining solar panel, which absorb the majority of the sun’s radiation and helps to distribute heat around the globe. The continuous process of evaporation of the ocean water increase the temperature and humidity of the surrounding air to form rain and storms, which are carried by the trade winds, often vast distances. Particularly, the tropics are rainy, since heat absorption and ocean evaporation, are highest in this area. The weather pattern of the other places, outside the equatorial area, is largely influenced by ocean currents.
Currents are the continuous movements of ocean water, generated mainly by the force of surface winds and partly by temperature, salinity gradients, Earth’s rotation, and the tides. Typically, the major current systems flow clockwise in the northern hemisphere, counterclockwise in the southern hemisphere, and often in circular patterns along the coastlines. The ocean currents, like a giant conveyer belt, continuously transport warm water and precipitation from the equator toward the poles and cold water from the poles back to the tropics. Thus, the currents regulate global climate.
Without the ocean currents, temperatures at the equatorial areas would be super hot, frigid toward the poles, and much less of Earth’s land would be habitable.